What are the Age Restrictions for Sweepstakes? Can Kid Enter a Giveaway? How To Do GIVEAWAYS?

So ... You decided to do a giveaway (a sweepstakes) on your youtube channel, but then you started to wonder. Can I open this up to everyone, of all ages, or do I have to restrict entry to minors?

Today we’re going to discuss some restrictions you have to place and some restrictions you may want to place on entries by minors into your YouTube sweepstakes, giveaway and contest. This is going to be divided into two parts. The first part will discuss entry to minors under the age of 13. In that section I will explain to you why you cannot allow anyone under the age of 13 to enter. Forget about whether or not those under 13 may actually win. You cannot allow them to even just enter your giveaway.

That’s largely because the kind of Giveaways and sweepstakes that typically run on YouTube, those where entries are based on comments, likes and subscribing, will not allow to comply with the strict laws regarding those under 13. Now I’m not going to leave you hanging. I’m going to give you several solutions to this issue. For most of you, I will provide a disclaimer that should cover you. For those who want to allow kids under 13 to win, I’ll give a couple of solutions too.

In the second part, we’ll discuss entry to minors age 13 – 18. I’m going to explain to you why you can allow minors 13-18 to enter … but in that case we’ll cover restrictions you may be required to place and some you may want to place.

Now … Why do we divide minors into those two groups? This has more to do with federal privacy laws then giveaway laws. Federal law, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), imposes requirements on operators of websites or online services directed toward children under 13 years of age. Yes … I know this sounds boring but let me explain in under 30 seconds. COPPA requires you to get parental permission before collecting any sort of private information from kids under the are of 13. How would that work in a YouTube giveaway?

Most websites, including YouTube, explicitly forbid usage of their services by those under the age of 13. That’s not because of a law forbidding access to video content by kids under the age of 13. It’s because of privacy laws. As a result, websites either cater to those under 13 or to those over 13, but rarely to both. And YouTube? YouTube too forbids usage of its service by those under 13. So you would think that since those under 13 are not permitted to use YouTube that you don’t have to worry about it. Unfortunately the law doesn’t make it that easy on us.

YouTube’s policies that forbid usage by those under 13 does not cover you when you are instructing viewers to enter information. If you are asking viewers to enter comments or submit pictures as part of a giveaway, YouTube’s privacy policy doesn’t protect you. You need to specifically declare that the giveaway is closed those to anyone under the age of 13. Seems like an overkill but it is required by law.

So with every Giveaway on YouTube, I suggest you include a simple phrase in your description that says something like … “Individuals under the age of 13 may not enter or submit information to this giveaway.”

Ok. So we cut out anyone under the age of 13, but how about minors under the age of 18. There was a time that giveaways, or sweepstakes, were restricted in some states for minors. You no longer see such laws. So your giveaway can be opened to anyone 13 and over. Unless … and that goes back to our prior post/video that deals in restricted prizes to minors. As we learned from that video, some prizes are not appropriate for minors (like alcohol, tobacco or guns). Some prizes may require you to get parental consent and some may require parental accompaniment. For example in the event your prize is a travel package that would not be appropriate for a minor alone. Some prizes may require disclaimers and liability releases, such as prizes involving risky behavior (e.g. skateboards).

As always, if you have any questions, please leave comments below.